IJAS held a Debate “Media Freedom – How many times and in which ways must we win it back?”

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The Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (IJAS) organized a public debate “MEDIA FREEDOM – How many times and in which ways must we win it back?”, On Tuesday, July 20, 2021 in Miljenko Dereta hall, the main results of the study “Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety in Serbia through the Prism of Existing Legal Solutions –How to reach better solutions “, as well as the annual report “ SERBIA Indicators on the level of media freedom and journalists’ safety 2020” were presented.

Vojislav Stevanovic, a member of the Executive Board of IJAS and executive producer of TV N1, was the moderator of this event, and at the very beginning he spoke about the safety of journalists in Serbia and its importance.

 

Slavica Trifunovic, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Culture and Information pointed out that freedom needs to be won as many times as necessary.

 

“”The Ministry of Culture and Information, through project co-financing, supports projects related to the protection of freedom of expression. It supports the fight for media freedom in every sense. “Every democratic society has strived and strives for free information, but the challenges of the technological revolution have set challenges,” she said.

 

Tamara Kostro Curcic from the Department of Media and Communications at the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia says that “media freedom and security of journalists are the basic value and policy of the European Union, so it is important to preserve and improve the heritage of it.”

 

“This kind of process always lasts and never stops. The 2020 report is alerting on the danger to the safety and security of journalists. The Covid pandemic somehow had a double effect, and put the importance of information of public interest in the foreground, but it also made the work of the media and media workers more difficult, “she said.

 

Dragan Sekulovski, director of the SafeJournalists Network and director of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia said that “all his colleagues are making efforts to ensure better safety for journalists, but have found that none of them is ready for a critique when they do something wrong.”

 

 

“And it’s not just politicians, but also businessmen. They all endanger the lives of journalists, and thus stifle journalistic freedoms. The situation has dramatically worsened, but our network has been monitoring it and publishing reports, so we have noticed that the number of attacks on journalists has increased, “Sekulovski explained.

 

Rade Djuric, legal officer and researcher at IJAS, presented the “Indicators for the level of media freedom and journalists’ safety in Serbia 2020”.

 

“The specificity of the year itself has greatly influenced the way in which the freedom of the media and security will be realized in reality. “Almost all spheres of social, socio-political, economic and other forms of functioning of the state and the lives of citizens have been greatly affected, suffered losses and negative consequences must be expected in the coming years,” Djuric said.

 

“The media, which were given a key role in preserving the public interest in reporting due to the chaos in receiving and processing information about the health and any other situation in the country, were particularly affected. “Sudden financial problems, difficult working conditions, reduced scope of human rights, changed levels of tolerance for the work of journalists have greatly affected the situation in the media and the position of the journalists themselves,” Djurić added.

 

Marija Babic, legal officer and IJAS researcher, spoke about the results of the study “Freedom of the Media and Security of Journalists in Serbia from the Angle of Existing Legal Solutions”.

 

“The main conclusion of the analysis is that the laws in these areas are in line with European standards and that the biggest problem is the application of these laws in practice. It is stated that certain shortcomings or ambiguities of legal regulations could not have effect if there was a will for these laws to be applied and respected. Legislation relating to the safety of journalists and the criminal protection of journalists as such is a sufficient basis to provide adequate protection to journalists and to ensure their safety. The biggest problem is the insufficient efficiency of judicial bodies, “Babic concluded.

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